Just a few hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is set to land in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that no other country could possibly replace Washington in the peace process. “Whoever truly aspires to realize these goals knows that there is no substitute for US leadership,” he stated.

Pence and Netanyahu (archive)

Pence and Netanyahu (archive) Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to arrive in Israel this evening (Sunday) for a two-day visit. Most of his time will be spent in Jerusalem, where thousands of police officers will be patrolling the streets to make sure that his visit proceeds without incident.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on Pence’s arrival at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. Netanyahu called Pence “a true friend” of Israel and said that he is looking forward to their discussions about Washington’s efforts to counter Iran’s aggression. He also said that they would discuss advancing security and peace in the Middle East. “Whoever truly aspires to realize these goals knows that there is no substitute for US leadership,” Netanyahu added.

The Israeli prime minister then condemned the MKs who intend to boycott Pence’s speech at the Knesset. In a tweet yesterday, Joint Arab List head Ayman Odeh said that the MKs belonging to his political party remain committed to boycotting Pence’s Knesset speech, which is set for Monday. “This is a dangerous man with a messianic vision that includes the destruction of the entire region who is coming on behalf of an even more dangerous man [Trump],” Odeh wrote. The Arab MK then called Trump a “political pyromaniac” and “racist.”

“I view it as a disgrace that MKs intend to boycott this important visit to the Knesset and are even seeking to disrupt it,” Netanyahu said. “We will all be there and will show Vice President Pence the great respect that he is due.”

Pence is expected to land at Ben-Gurion Airport at 6:15 PM. From the airport, he will head to the Jerusalem hotel where he will be staying during his visit. Tomorrow morning, he will meet with Netanyahu and address the Israeli lawmakers at the Knesset. Netanyahu will host Pence tomorrow evening for dinner at his official residence in Israel’s capital city.

On Tuesday, Pence will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin before visiting the Yad Vashem museum and the Western Wall. At 4:30 PM, Pence will depart from Ben-Gurion Airport, heading back to Washington.